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What is an SSL Certificate?

SSL is a protocol, and in order to use the SSL protocol organizations need a SSL Certificate. A SSL Certificate is a small data file that digitally binds a cryptographic key to your organization’s details, typically:

  • Your domain name or server name
  • Your company name and location
  • In certain cases your contact details

An organization needs to apply for and install the SSL Certificate onto their web server to initiate SSL sessions with browsers. Depending on the type of SSL Certificate applied for, the organization will need to go through differing levels of vetting. Once installed, it is possible to connect to the web site over https://www.domain... as this tells the server to establish a secure connection with the browser. Once a secure connection is established all web traffic between the web server and the web browser will be secure.

SSL Certificates need to be issued from a trusted CA’s root certificate. The root certificate must be present on the end-user’s machine in order for the SSL Certificate to be trusted. If it is not trusted the browser will present untrusted error messages to the end user. In the case of ecommerce, such error messages result in immediate lack of confidence in the web site, web sites using untrusted SSL Certificates therefore risk losing confidence and business from the majority of consumers.

Companies like GlobalSign are known as trusted Certification Authorities. This is because browser and operating system vendors such as Microsoft, Mozilla, Opera, Blackberry, Java etc trust that GlobalSign is a legitimate Certification Authority and that GlobalSign can be relied on to issue trustworthy SSL Certificates. The more applications, devices and browsers the Certification Authority embeds its root into, the better “recognition” the SSL Certificate can provide.

Root Embedding Strategy – ensuring transparent security for your all customer

GlobalSign has, for over 10 years, been operating the GlobalSign Ready program for root certificate embedding. This program ensures its inhouse engineers from the US, UK, continental Europe and Asia are in constant communication with the application, device and browsers vendors to ensure the GlobalSign root certificate is present everywhere that may be used for SSL sessions.


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